It will come as no surprise to our many fans of the Genius of Madrid to hear that there are characters (eg Tupra) and themes (secrets) familiar from earlier novels. Labyrinthine and brilliant, as ever.
In November 1838, Chopin went to Valldemossa in Majorca, where he composed his 24 Preludes using a small, locally made instrument, out of date before it was completed. Kildea interweaves this story with others, including George Sand’s struggles in Paris, walk-ons by Baudelaire, Delacroix, Gide, Tolstoy . Later there is Robert Graves and, above all, Wanda Landowska, a remarkable Polish Jewish performer who acquired the piano before losing it to the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940. An extraordinary linking of tales, with the humblest of pianos at the centre – made, used, lost, found, used, lost, found, and then lost once again.